Kristi Marsh, Easton mom of three, is an amazing woman. We’ve chatted on numerous occasions at karate (where our children both go) or at Leggo league (where our sons were involved) and through email or Facebook. She’s probably one of the few women I’ve met who is bouncy, high energy, and whose brain tends to take off in tangential leaps running far faster than her mouth can keep up. She’s a lot like me in those respects and after she’s finished sharing her ideas and asks, “You know what I mean?” in breathless tones, I respond, “Yes!” I know what she means. Boy Howdy can I relate to that. Kristi is nothing if not full of spunk and life.
The exciting news is that Kristi is one of five finalists in Prevention Magazines Picture of Health Contest. She submitted a video essay to the contest and was one of five people chosen out of hundreds of applicants. The winner for the contest is decided by public vote-which you can do once a day until April 15th. Except of course, if you live in Arizona (like all my family). Apparently people who live in Arizona are not eligible to vote because it’s just too hot in that city. No honestly, I have no idea why people in Arizona can’t participate in choosing a winner, but that’s the rules. (I wonder if they can vote for American Idol or Dancing With The Stars? If so, I’m thinking this is discrimination of a kind I can’t name but will look into. Digression there, sorry…) The winner will be announced on the TV show The Doctors on April 29th. Besides appearing on the show, the winner also receives $5,000 for themselves, as well as $5,000 donated to a charity of their choosing. Kristi has chosen to support breast cancer research.
So why is her story so compelling? What is it about her that makes her special? Well, you might be thinking it has something to do with having chickens in her backyard. Anyone who has chickens (and therefore fresh eggs at their disposal) is a winner in my book. But it wasn’t her chickens. Motivated by what she went through when she beat an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 35, Kristi started an organization Choose Wiser whose mission is to “empower women to nurture a fresh, healthy, non-toxic lifestyle through interactive, uplifting workshops.” There are many different types of workshops you can sign up for, including "Creating a Healthy Home," "Book Club" workshops, and "What’s a Girl To Do?", a workshop that focuses on women’s cosmetics and beauty products.
I’ve attended the “What’s a Girl To Do?” workshop and was blown away with the information I left with. Who knew that there was lead in over 60% of lipsticks tested? Who knew that many nail polishes still contain there formaldehyde, toulene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which are a carcinogen, neurotoxin, and teratogen respectively? Obviously, not me. While in the workshop images of my three-year-old kept coming to my mind; covered in lipstick like the Joker and sporting shiny, painted nails that she sucks on because she likes the taste of the polish. It’s also the season for sunscreen and bug repellent, reminding me how last year the kids (and myself) coughed and choked during each spraying application of OFF Backwoods Repellent containing DEET. I might not be able to control every single product my children encounter, but there are simple things I can do to use more healthful products not only for myself, but for my girls who want to emulate me. And let’s face it, everyone wants to emulate me.
The thing I love about Kristi’s message and workshops is she’s not out to be an alarmist. It’s not a hell-and-brimstone beauty lecture where you leave feeling like you should have repented of your toxic products yesterday and need to confess your sinful love of shower gel from Bath and Body Works. They are feel-good workshops meant to empower you to start making simple choices. Everyday choices. Choices that take minimal effort but have huge benefits. Like purchasing nail polish without those toxic chemicals, which I did in shades of lime and turquoise for my daughter. I’m working on getting the lipstick out of her grip though. It’s a process.
She also has audio workshops on her website that you can listen to. Those are a fun way to get the information and not have to read! Kristi is also dedicated to creating a healthy home environment and not eating foods bathed in pesticides and chemicals. She’s an everyday mom and inspiration. Regardless of the outcome from Prevention’s contest, as far as I'm concerned she’s already won the battle. She's a strong, courageous woman who is going places. (But I still encourage you to vote for her once a day!)